June 27, 2008

Congress Passes Kerry-Corker Legislation To Remove Nelson Mandela from Terror Watch List

Bill Now Moves to President's Desk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sens. John Kerry, Bob Corker, and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced the passage of their legislation to remove former South African President Nelson Mandela from the terror watch list. The bill grants the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the authority to waive U.S. travel restrictions on President Mandela and other members of the African National Congress (ANC.)

Mandela and his fellow ANC members remain on the list for activities they conducted against South Africa’s apartheid regime decades ago. The senators hope the passage of this legislation will end this embarrassing impediment to improving U.S.-South Africa relations.

“In recognition of his ninetieth birthday this summer, Nelson Mandela is again honored as one of the world’s strongest voices for human dignity and courage in the face of oppression. Today the United States moved closer at last to removing the great shame of dishonoring this great leader by including him on our government’s terror watch list,” said Kerry.

“Nelson Mandela served as a beacon for freedom and democracy during a dark time in the history of South Africa. I am pleased that we have finally passed legislation that will honor his commitment and sacrifices by lifting dishonorable travel restrictions imposed upon him and other members of the African National Congress. What we have done today is the right and just thing to do,” said Corker.

“Nelson Mandela does not belong on a terrorist watch list – period,” said Whitehouse, who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “The Senate’s vote yesterday will help fix a problem that has caused injustice to South African leaders and embarrassment to the United States.”

In November 2007, Kerry met with Mandela in South Africa and toured Robben Island, where Mandela was kept for eighteen of the twenty-seven years he spent imprisoned during the apartheid era.

The bill passed the both the Senate and House last night. It moves to the White House today for the President’s signature.


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